Guess who’s coming to dinner??? … With the 2022 draft now just over three weeks away, all 32 teams are pretty much sequestered in their respective war rooms making their final preps. Part of the process is having out-of-town prospects come in for on-site visits. Every team is permiited to bring in 30 such out-of-town visits for interviews and final medical checks, but work outs are not permitted. And while its hardly a perfect science, teams do tend to bring in players – in various rounds -that they are actually interested in and have a legitimate shot to select. As a result, it may be possible to glean some clues as to what players particular teams are possibly looking at; as well which teams are interviewing a particular player can give an indication around where that player might be selected. Again, teams generally don’t like to waste their time visiting with players they are never going to draft.
So what do we know s far from visits that have been announced. Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson, the consensus top prospect this year, for example, was in Jacksonville, which coincidentally has the #1 pick, on Monday and has scheduled visits with both the Jets and Giants in New York, while he’ll visit the Lions as a local guy who doesn’t count against the 30. In addition, Hutchinson had one private workout scheduled – with Jacksonville – but reportedly cancelled when teammate David Ojabo suffered a serious injury at the Wolverines’ pro day. Hutchinson, in fact, is on the same schedule with NC State OT Ickey Ekwonu who was with his in Jacksonville on Monday and will also visit with both the Giants and Jets, while visiting Carolina as his local visit. Both also reported expected to visit Houston which has the third pick, but the last we heard is that neither has actually heard from the Texans. The Texans, though, have reportedly been all over Cincinnati CB Sauce Gardner. The Texans had a private meeting with Gardner after his pro day and had him in for a visit yesterday. Gardner, though, appears to be a popular guy as also has visits schedule with Detroit as well as both the Jets and Giants. Meanwhile, Alabama OT Evan Neal also will visit the Jags as well as the Jets and Giants.
Among other notes on the topic: Georgia DE Travon Walker reportedly will visit each of the teams with a top 6 pick, while Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux will meet with the Lions and Texans. The Jets, who were rebuffed in their attempts to trade for elite recievers D.K. Metcalf of Seattle and A.J. Brown of Tennessee had Ohio State WRs Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave in for visits. Both would be possible candidates for the Jets with the 10th pick. No big surprise, but Carolina had just about all this year’s top QBs in for visits including Pitt’s Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis of Liberty, Sam Howell of North Carolina, Ole Miss’ Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder of Cincinnati and Bailey Zappe of Western Kentucky. Ridder also has visits with Seattle and Pittsburgh, with the Steelers also reportedly hosting Howell.